We’ve come a long way since John Glenn ate the first applesauce packed in a tube in zero-gravity atmosphere during the NASA Friendship 7 flight in 1962. Today, we only need to travel down the aisles of our favorite stores to see flexible packaging revolutionizing the way we package, store and ship our food (and it tastes better than the pureed beef and vegetables of early space travel). Mothers are feeding their babies food from squeezable pouches that eliminate the need for spoons, bowls and even bibs. Our crackers and cookies come in resealable pouches that protect and keep them fresher longer. Frozen veggies can be steamed in the microwave right in their bags, and our salads stay crisp for days in bags that feature venting technology. And we can enjoy all of this within the earth’s atmosphere.
It’s no surprise that with flexible packaging’s steady technological progression, the industry continues to experience tremendous growth. In fact, flexible packaging is one of the fastest growing packaging segments. The total U.S. flexible packaging industry is estimated to have been about $31 billion in annual sales and 18.1 billion pounds of material in 2015. Representing approximately 19% of the total $163 billion U.S. packaging industry, flexible packaging is the largest packaging segment behind corrugated paper. Growth will continue to be driven by the value, convenience and sustainability benefits only flexible packaging can offer.
In this issue of Packaging Strategies, we take a look at the packaging robotics industry, learn about some of the latest products to be featured at PACK EXPO LV, sustainability innovation, and much more!